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Racial Portrayals of Christian Athletes

I had a wonderful conversation with Dr. Darron Smith of the University of Memphis a few weeks ago.  He’s recently written a book When Race, Religion, and Sport Collide.  In our first discussion, we discuss media portrayals of two Christian athletes, Tim Tebow and Jeremy Lin, and how race plays a role in how they were portrayed in the media.  Dr. Smith said,

We aren’t conditioned to see Asians as basketball players.  We see Asians as mathematicians, scientists. We see them as quiet, meek, humble, some of those qualities that we ascribe to people.  We see Asians as being allies, we see Asians as being safe, model minorities.  Certainly someone like Jeremy Lin, who is actually southeast Asian.  This guy would be the phenomenon that he was, the run that he had a couple of years ago, but he’s continued to do that as time has gone on.  It was a perfect set of events that took place that gave him, that catapulted Jeremy Lin to his stardom that he had.

Tim Tebow is the perfect Christian.  He’s a white male, wealthy, he’s handsome, a college graduate, he’s an athlete.  He’s got all of the things that embodies a football player.  He’s a southerner perspective, so in the south, the image of Tim Tebow personifies football.

Tebow is celebrated for his Christianity, and someone like Jeremy Lin, who is also deeply Christian, deeply Christian.  I would even argue probably more Christian than Tebow because he’s so humble about it.  He doesn’t parade it around, but we weren’t interested in that, with that aspect of his identity, Lin’s identity, but Tebow’s identity, it just fit his identity.  That’s the narrative that we typically hear about at least in the South, of what a football player should be, someone like Tim Tebow.

Had you considered that race might play a role in how the media covered these two players?

Media Stereotypes of Christian Athletes

 

 

 

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1st International Temple was almost a Temple Ship!

Trivia question for you:  what was the first LDS temple outside the United States?  The answer is below but see if you can guess before you read the answer.  In our final conversation with BYU Church History professor Dr. Richard Bennett, we learned that this temple marked the end of gathering the church to Utah, and the beginning of creating temples away from the center of Mormonism.

Temples were magnets and were a powerful factor in people gathering from Europe and inland to the Rocky Mountains.  Originally they went to Nauvoo.  The saints wanted to be where the temple is.

After 1900 and the beginning of an understanding that we should stay where we are and gather to the local units and gather in their own nations, you begin to see temples now moving out from Utah.  I think the first major expression of that would be the Cardston Temple.

We also discussed the Temple Ship, an idea mentioned in Greg Prince’s biography of President David O. McKay!

Yes I know that story, like a Hope Ship.  It had a lot of traction at one time.  It’s pretty hard to keep sacred a ship though, {chuckles} and I think that was the thing that sunk it, the idea that, oh we can have this boat that would be a dedicated temple.  The reason it had traction was you could go to places where the saints were. You could go to the islands and different countries all over the world.  But I think, I don’t know.  I remember studying that when I was studying the life of David O. McKay years ago, and I wrote the history of Brigham Young University, shadow boat history.  This was going to be difficult to keep a ship afloat that’s a temple and keep it sacred, going all over the place, and having it serviced and everything else, plus the cost.

Check out our conversation, and give us a 5 star review on iTunes or Youtube!

 

1st International Temple was almost a Temple Ship!

 

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Ouija boards, Spiritualism, Manifesto, & Endowments for the Dead

You’ve probably heard lots of ghost stories, Ouija boards, and other supernatural phenomenon.  I was surprised to hear Dr. Richard Bennett, a BYU professor of Church History tell us that Spiritualism, the idea of communing with the dead, may have had some impact on the LDS endowment.  Some quotes from Dr. Bennett:

Spiritualism, the practice of communing with the dead, adulterated today by Ouija boards and things like this and telekinesis and paranormal, but Spiritualism is well-known in American history as flowering after the Civil War with so many dead and lost and the great desire of many families to know what happened to their sons or their fathers or their brothers.

In the 1870s there’s a lot of comment by general authorities, leaders of the church, particularly Orson Pratt about this is a counterfeit, but it has its place.  We understand why people are seeking the dead.  Was that a factor in the beginning of endowments for the dead for the church in 1877?  I claim that it may have been one of the factors to begin to address how we really think about them.  There is redemption for the dead but it’s not that way.  So was it a factor?  I argue that it probably was one of the factors.

We also talked about the start of the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper!

There were a small number of astute, intellectual Latter-day Saints who broke with Brigham Young in the 1870s, who thought they knew the gospel a little bit better than Brigham Young did.  But they thought that they knew economics better than Brigham Young did and they broke with the church over that.  The Salt Lake Tribune starts with the Godbeite movement which was very negative,of course against the church.  It still tends to be a little bit on that side, but that’s its history.

There’s also a discussion about the revelation that preceded the Manifesto.  Check it out!

 

Ouija Boards, Spiritualism, the Manifesto, and Endowments for the Dead